Why You Shouldn’t Have a Problem with the Tanking Philadelphia 76ers

michael carter williams 76ers record

The Philadelphia 76ers will more than likely set an NBA report for futility Saturday night when they lose to the Detroit Pistons. It’ll be Philly’s 27th loss in a row, eclipsing Cleveland’s file of 26 set just a few years in the past. From coast-to-coast, the 76ers are being hammered for tanking this season. I’m a hundred% on board with the tank job, and it makes complete sense. Let’s count the methods:

1) Anytime a new leader takes cost at a corporation, change happens. Sometimes, it's gradual change, so as to not upset too many of us. Many individuals are deathly afraid of sudden change. Different occasions, as has happened in Philadelphia, the teardown is swift, and the gutting fairly brutal. The 76ers ripped off the band-assist as a substitute of slowly taking it off. In sports activities, this makes full sense. Still, teams are terrified they’ll “lose” the fanbase. That’s criminally dumb. Build a winner. Fans will come.

2) This is the way you go from the dreaded middle of the NBA (or below common), to the basement, shortly: Since losing recreation seven to Boston in the 2012 Eastern Convention semifinals, Philadelphia has traded its greatest participant (Andre Igoudala) for a participant who didn’t play one minute (Andrew Bynum), fired a coach (Doug Collins), hired a new GM (Sam Hinkie), traded its 2nd finest player (Jrue Vacation) for a draft choose who was injured and sat out the entire year (Nerlens Noel), and traded away its former No. 2 general pick (Evan Turner) for essentially nothing.

michael carter williams dancing with nerlens noel

3) No group goes into the 2014 NBA draft – a really, very good draft, not simply at the top, but into the 2nd spherical – in better position than Philadelphia. As of at this time, it seems to be like they’ll have two lottery picks (absolute best-case: 1 and 6) and 4 or 5 2nd round picks. Before you scoff at 2nd spherical picks, enjoy watching these current 2nd spherical picks play a job within the upcoming NBA playoffs: Chandler Parsons (Houston), Draymond Green (Golden State), Patrick Beverley (Houston), Danny Green (San Antonio) and Lance Stephenson (Indiana). Oh, and you’re not locked into utilizing all of them – you now have flexibility to make a trade. Flexibility, cap room, high draft picks … these are good things.

4) After Cleveland misplaced 26 games in a row, guess what the outcome was? It acquired Kyrie Irving, a very talented point guard who they thought they may build round (still can, in case you ask me). Why is Cleveland nonetheless a mess? As a result of it didn’t follow up that draft decide with any good moves. Drafting Dion Waiters 4th (over Harrison Barnes or Andre Drummond) and then Anthony Bennett 1st (over Victor Oladipo) is what set the Cavaliers again.

5) You already know what’s worse than tanking? The Knicks being stuck in cap hell, not having any draft picks, and being just bad enough to miss the playoffs. When the 76ers land Andrew Wiggins and Aaron Gordon within the draft, after which choose up Russ Smith, DeAndre Kane and Nick Johnson in the second spherical, let me know if tanking was a foul concept.


Fox Sports Warren Barton Talks Champions League, Vince McMahon and Why He Thinks Gus Johnson Will Be One of the Best Soccer Announcers in the World

warrenbartonWarren Barton, an Englishman, has been part of the American soccer panorama the previous couple of years working as an analyst for Fox Soccer Channel and now Fox Sports 1. If you happen to’re a fan of the game within the States, you’ll little doubt acknowledge the previous England international and are nicely aware of his tendency to mix it up with former U.S. Nationwide Workforce striker Eric Wynalda on air.

Though FOX misplaced the rights to the Premier League, it nonetheless airs the Champions League and FA Cup. Right now we’re smack dab in the middle of peak soccer with European competitions, the start of MLS this weekend and the World Cup looming less than one hundred days away. Over the weekend FOX aired the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, together with Wigan Athletic shock 2-1 win over Manchester City. The second leg of the Round of sixteen Champions League video games resume on Tuesday with Bayern Munich/Arsenal and Atletico Madrid/AC Milan.

The Large Lead spoke with Barton by cellphone final week on a lot of soccer matters including what makes the FA Cup particular as an Englishman, why English fans are not often real looking about their nationwide group and what it’s like working with Gus Johnson.

TBL: Clearly Americans are wrapped up in English soccer, with the Premier League primarily. The FA Cup … typically it feels like the appeal is misplaced in translation. As an Englishman, describe what makes the FA Cup so particular?

WB: As a British one who thinks of the FA Cup, it’s the romance. We love the opportunity an amateur athlete pitting his wits against the Premier All-Stars. It’s like a high school group taking part in against the Steelers or the Cowboys in the Tremendous Bowl. It begins with a policeman, a builder, they could possibly be doing effectively and playing against mighty Manchester City or Arsenal. There’s the history. It’s the oldest home membership competitors in the world. That’s how I generalize it. The romance, the historical past. The beauty, as I mentioned, an newbie athlete playing towards one of many heroes of the Premier League.

TBL: What matchup would make for the most effective closing for the Champions League this season?

WB: Bayern Munich, they're the benchmark. Actual Madrid, at the moment, with the best participant on this planet (Cristiano Ronaldo), the most costly player on this planet (Gareth Bale) and possibly essentially the most underrated coach in the world, as properly with (Carlo) Ancelotti. Clearly ex-pats wish to see Chelsea or Manchester City. In case you’re a purist, trying on the game, taking a look at (Bayern and Actual) they’re thrilling, they rating objectives and so they play to win. They've the opposite group apprehensive about them, somewhat than being cautious. Take Manchester City, they have been very respectful of Barcelona and when you speak about Bayern or Real Madrid they exit to win regardless of who they’re enjoying against.

TBL: You’ve been in America for some time, what do you make of the viewers who watches English video games or soccer on the whole, who do you think that audience is?

WB: I can go simply by Twitter. They’re very educated. They’re very passionate. They are often very essential as well. Now with the sport being proven on so many channels, the Internet, folks’s knowledge is getting higher and other people’s opinions are getting stronger.

The expansion I’ve seen in six years, you may simply go by our viewing figures. Every year it gets larger. The data is spreading. … What’s thrilling is the game within the U.S. hasn’t even reached it’s potential but and it’s already breaking data week-in, week-out. That’s exciting as an analyst, as an ex-player, as a coach going ahead. I do know that’s how Eric (Wynalda) and Brian (McBride) really feel. We love it.

TBL: What’s probably the most noticeable change in soccer because you’ve been over here in America?

WB: Have a look at the shirts. You’re speaking about each now and again you might see a West Ham shirt or an Everton shirt. Earlier than it was once simply Barcelona or Actual Madrid, Manchester United. Clearly there’s ardour.

It’s also individuals recognizing you. You go to Phoenix, you go to Miami, Los Angeles, folks at all times ask me, ‘What’s Eric like, what’s Brian like?’ That shows you that the audience is getting bigger. Sure people are carrying not solely prime Premiership shirts, but perhaps a Stoke shirt will likely be worn. You’ll obviously see numerous MLS shirts. The game is growing. It’s the identical because the NFL in the UK. I communicate to my mates there. Earlier than you would possibly see a Cowboys and a 49ers shirt. Now you get a Chargers, Tennessee. It’s crossing over.

TBL: I’m positive you saw the rumors final month about Vince McMahon’s interest in shopping for Newcastle United, one among your former clubs. What did you make of that? Would he be a great addition to English soccer?

WB: You can’t assist however have a smile on your face, because of the ties to the WWE and what he’s completed. Something is feasible. That’s the fantastic thing about what’s happening.

Am I towards it? No. Wouldn't it surprise me? Sure.

You have a look at Roman Abramovich, a Russian billionaire coming to Chelsea. You have a look at what the Qataris have done at PSG and obviously these type of golf equipment. They’ve taken these mediocre teams from a decade in the past and turned them into global giants. It’s intriguing. As I said to Rob Stone, it could intrigue me. It will bring humor back into the sport and that’s what it’s about. (McMahon) positively knows business, look what he’s accomplished to that enterprise. He’s additionally obtained a strong opinion which is sweet.

Newcastle Fan

TBL: Newcastle has an enormous, passionate fanbase, an enormous stadium … why has it been so exhausting for them to get over that hump and compete for trophies constantly? What is it about that membership that all the time holds them back?

WB: It’s the turnover of coaches. You take a look at Chelsea and the turnover. To bridge that hole, you must sign high-quality gamers. We completed second twice (Barton played for Newcastle United from 1995-2002), played in Cup finals, played within the Champions League. You have to discover the suitable coach. There are only so many Sir Bobby Robsons which are round. It is advisable to have an owner that understands the chance you’ve given a certain coach. It’s an amalgamation of turnover of coaches, turnover of players and it’s like everybody – there’s solely so many winners. Sadly Newcastle are one of the teams like an Everton, like a Liverpool in the meanwhile who are trying to interrupt into the Prime 4. You possibly can throw Tottenham into that equation as well and so they’ve spent over $100 million. Cash doesn’t all the time purchase success, nevertheless it actually helps.

TBL: What’s it been like working with Gus Johnson, such as you did last spring with the Champions League?

WB: There’s little question. I’ve worked with Martin Tyler, with Rob Hawthorne on Sky and Gus is simply as passionate as them.

We’re in America and I think we should have an American voice. It sounds strange coming from a Brit, however that’s me personally. We've an American audience and to bridge that hole to get the American individuals to understand you want an American voice. Which will get myself out of a job however that’s how I feel. I’ve lived right here and respect the country and respect what the game is. I think Gus Johnson is pretty much as good as anybody on this planet. Yes Martin Tyler is the benchmark however you’ve received Gus Johnson 15-20 years in the sport and he’s right behind him. I’m an enormous fan, not just because he’s with us, however for what he does with the game, how strong he is to place his status on the line, to try this. That takes not solely guts, but it takes confidence to do this and he’s received all our confidence and the network behind him.

TBL: Will you be working more Champions League video games this spring with Gus?

WB: Our boss, obviously, has already spoken to myself and Eric about that on the timescale. It obviously needs to be a recreation that appeals to folks. From that standpoint I feel it will be accomplished. Will probably be a sport that’s worthy like Manchester United/Real Madrid. We don’t need to shortchange the viewers. Gus is very dedicated in addition to everybody on the soccer aspect. [Ed. word: Johnson will possible be again calling Champions League games this spring, but FOX hasn't confirmed recreation or date yet.]

TBL: Getting again to the Champions League, a number of years ago we had three of the 4 semifinalists coming from England. We’re at all times told the EPL is one of the best league on the planet, but now the continental European teams are faring much better against them in the Champions League. Is it cyclical or is there a cause why?

WB: The Premier League is the most exciting league. I feel Tim Howard mentioned that. Brian McBride stated that. You possibly can take a team like Fulham and may go and beat a Manchester United, a Chelsea. If you’re speaking other leagues, Real Madrid normally win their games, it’s impossible they’ll lose. The Premier League is aggressive and thrilling due to the fashion of football. It’s very much a mixture of continental and the British physicality. Now it’s a shift. Whether it’s La Liga, the Bundesliga or Ligue 1, you’re seeing that due to the money. PSG have performed effectively with the players they have. I still just like the EPL is essentially the most thrilling or aggressive.

The Champions League is the most exciting when it comes to the technical high quality of the coaches. If you talk about the information of the sport, there’s where the Champions League for me is so intriguing. The standard of gamers, the quality of coaches. The Premier League nonetheless has to bridge that gap. If you’re talking about data and techniques, it’s the Champions League. For those who’re talking pleasure it’s the Premier League, no doubt because of the bodily side of what you've got. If it’s the throughout bundle it’s Champions League for me.

TBL: As an Englishman what’s a sensible expectation for England on the World Cup this 12 months?

WB: To win it! (laughes) No, if we can get to the quarterfinals that may be an awesome achievement. As you realize in England we all get so excited that we’re going to win it, that that is the year. Once you discuss South America you talk about Brazil, Argentina and in Europe you look at the Germans and the Spanish.

All your wives and girlfriends are getting buggered right now.

TBL: English fans are bizarre with the World Cup. Half of them think it’s their birthright to win it, the opposite half think they have no likelihood. What’s it actually like?

WB: Two weeks earlier than everyone says we’re going to win it. The Queen will likely be on TELEVISION. We’ll have Prince Charles, Prince William, it’ll be our time. As soon as we kickoff, it’ll be, no we’re going to lose and go out of it. There are so many combined emotions. You have all the flags out, we’ll be able to go. Possibly this yr we’re being pessimistic, however real looking. That is the first time I’ve spoken to individuals and they’re like “we ain’t going to win it.” We’ve all the time stated before “we’ve obtained Rooney, we’ve got Peter Crouch, we’ve bought Steven Gerrard.” This time it’s extra like, if we get out of our group we’ve completed effectively. A bit of reality has kicked in.

TBL: I’m not sure how intently you monitor the U.S. crew, but we’re three months away from the World Cup. What do you think the U.S. expectation needs to be?

WB: Final week, when I watched them practice – Jurgen invited us down with Rob Stone – it was a privilege to speak to Landon (Donovan). The European gamers weren’t there. I just thought it’s very unfortunate with the group. Jurgen can flip it around and say to do effectively we’ve received to play in opposition to the best, however I think there’s such robust momentum from what he’s achieved within the last 18 months. The Donovan state of affairs has modified, the place you must earn the suitable to play for the U.S. which is implausible. There’s competition for places. The perfect players have stepped up. (Chris) Wondolowski, Eddie (Johnson) guys like that have stepped up. If they get out of that group I feel they’ve done very effectively. Anybody, even when it was England, even when it was France in that group. Looking at that group is very troublesome.

TBL: You’ve worked with Eric Wynalda for a pair years now. What’s the most heated argument you’ve had collectively?

WB: Obvious: The Premier League and the Bundesliga. He is in awe of the Bundesliga. He loves it. It’s his largest ardour and rightly so.

We argue about three issues: Premier League vs. Bundesliga, the U.S. vs. England … and who’s going to buy lunch. Each time I’ve gained and I’ve bought lunch each single time for the last three and half years with him. He’s a fantastic guy. We have now a lot of enjoyable on TELEVISION. People ask if we get on. I feel yeah we do, but now we have opinions and that’s what it’s all about.

He’s not bought me one beer or one sandwich in 4 years, and you may quote me on that.

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Poker Strategy Playing It Safe


Andrew BrokosIn life, I’m a nit. Some might even say a cheapskate. I only drink tap water at restaurants. I never go to night clubs or trendy bars. When poker tournaments take me to expensive casino resorts, I bring a lot of my own food.

Despite all the time I spend in casinos, I’ve never touched a pit game in my life: no dice, no blackjack, no roulette, and certainly no slot machines. I’ve never purchased a lottery ticket. I work hard to find every edge I ca when I play poker, so why would I knowingly give away two or three percent in the pit?

Yet at the poker table, I’m capable of anything. I’ll check-raise bluff four players on the flop if I think no one has a set. I’ll bluff twice the pot on the river if I think I can get you off of your set. In my first World Series of Poker main event, when the $10,000 buy-in represented about a quarter of my net worth, I (correctly) called off 15 percent of my stack with king-high on the river in the first level.

How do I reconcile my seemingly risky approach to poker with the way I treat money in other aspects of my life? My philosophy is actually very consistent: I hate letting money slip through my fingers, and that’s exactly what happens if I miss a positive expectation play at the poker table.

This is why I bristle when people talk about checking or folding being a “safe play.” It’s safe in the sense that it won’t cost you any more money from your stack, but what about your equity in the pot?

I understand the temptation of this logic, and I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it myself. Your chips are something real and tangible, already in front of you, whereas your pot equity is distributed across a range of possible outcomes with uncertain probabilities. Still, it is real, it is worth money, and most importantly, it already belongs to you.

Every time you are dealt into a hand of poker, you have some chance of winning, and hence some equity in the pot. Just like when you make mortgage payments on a house, your equity in the pot is worth something. Folding doesn’t cost you nothing, it costs you your equity. Losing this equity is exactly as expensive as losing chips from your stack if you call and end up losing the pot.

Unlike with a house, you generally have to make further investments in a pot to realize your equity. Often this represents too high a price, in which case the safest play is indeed to fold.

Other times, your opponents will give you the opportunity to bluff them, which is like buying out their equity at a bargain price. Not taking those opportunities is akin to turning down a deal whereby you pay $1 to buy $2. Actually, it’s more like turning down a coin flip where you pay $1 if you lose but stand to win $2. There’s risk involved, but as long as you’re properly bankrolled, it’s a good investment, and not taking it is akin to turning down free money.

Think about the feeling you get when you fold only to have your opponent show you a bluff. Probably there is a visceral frustration that comes from seeing quite clearly what you have lost and how easily it could have been yours.

Maybe you feel the same way when you check the river and win at showdown against a hand that would have paid off another bet. You can see how you could have had more money, and you know that you don’t have it, and that hurts.

I get that same feeling when my opponent wins at showdown with a hand that I think he would have folded to further pressure. Had I applied that pressure there would be more chips in my stack, so by not applying that pressure, I functionally lost those chips. I let money slip through my fingers. I hate that!

The immediate impetus for this article was a comment on my blog. I posted a hand where I held a pair of jacks on a 9Spade Suit 7Diamond Suit 3Spade Suit AHeart Suit KDiamond Suit board. On the river, I was out of position to two players, and based on the action so far, I was far more likely to have a flush than were either of my opponents. With $655 in the pot and nearly $5,000 in the effective stacks, I asked readers what they thought was the best play.

One commenter said that checking was “obviously” the safe play, but that’s not obvious to me. I estimated that I might have the best hand as much as 20 percent of the time in that spot. I’d probably fold to a bet, though, so I can’t expect to win even that often at showdown. If my read about neither opponent having a flush was right, however, then a big bet could succeed nearly always. This makes bluffing much less risky in the sense that I would hardly ever lose, whereas checking would cause me to lose the vast majority of the time.

The real risk, I suppose, is that my reads are off. If someone actually did have a flush, or just refused to fold a weaker hand to a big bet, then I could lose not just the pot but also my bluff.

That’s a risk you take whenever you play poker, though. If you aren’t comfortable backing your reads with the money you have on the table, then you have too much money on the table.

The alternative approach is to hope to win simply by getting dealt better cards than your opponents, and that strategy is about as risky as they come. ♠

Andrew Brokos is a professional poker player, writer and coach. He blogs about poker strategy on ThinkingPoker.net and is co-host of the Thinking Poker Podcast. Andrew is also interested in education reform and founded an after-school debate program for urban youth.


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Dos Anjos Coach: Nurmagomedov Is ‘Russian Version of Chael Sonnen’

Rafael Cordeiro (right) is readying students for some majorfights. |

Last Saturday, Rafael Cordeiro watched from the nook as pupil Lyoto Machida outpointed Gegard Mousasi in the primary event of UFC Combat Night 36,

Nevertheless, the chief of Kings MMA will scarcely have time to rejoice, as a result of he’s making ready two other students – Fabricio Werdum and Rafael dos Anjos

- to battle at UFC on Fox eleven


The April 19 card in Orlando, Fla., will see heavyweight headlinerWerdum sq. off towards TravisBrowne, whereas light-weight dos Anjos will face KhabibNurmagomedov on the primary card. The latter bout was onCordeiro’s mind this week, particularly due to Nurmagomedov’sattitude towards Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

“It’s going to be a very good combat, a battle that Rafael needs evenmore because of the stuff that the Russian’s been saying,” Cordierotold Sherdog.com. “Rafael is an excellent respectful guy; he doesn’tspeak in poor health about anyone. [Nurmagomedov] is a Russian model ofChaelSonnen as a result of he doesn’t respect jiu-jitsu and has no respectfor those who come from jiu-jitsu. However he’ll face a tricky guy.Rafael is a troublesome battle for anybody in the division, and we’ll doeverything to have Rafa kick his ass. Rafa is training exhausting, andthis struggle is no longer simply his combat, but the fight of thewhole group.”

In the meantime, Cordeiro and Werdum will head to the Netherlands onMarch 14 to spend 12 days coaching at renowned kickboxing schoolMike’s Gymnasium.

“Werdum goes to do a circuit with some heavy guys, with some ofthe greatest K-1 fighters in Holland,” mentioned Cordiero. “I wish to getWerdum out of his comfort zone and put him in training with goodguys. I believe this is the first step for him to win thechampionship. He’ll face a muay Thai guy, so let’s take him to theNetherlands. After he beats Travis, we’ll get one of the best wrestlersfor him to face CainVelasquez.”

Cordeiro additionally expressed his contentment with Machida’s performancein Jaragua do Sul.

“I’m very completely happy. He showed a technical quality, exact, with muchbetter protection,” Cordeiro explained. “He fought a tricky guy. Idon’t know if other fighters might bear those sequences of attackthat [Machida] landed at numerous occasions, the kicks and knees to thehead. I’m very completely satisfied to see the evolution of Lyoto and toparticipate in his camps… He graced us once again by exhibiting thewhole bundle, not solely putting, hitting, but also listening tohis corner.”

A muay Thai practitioner, Cordeiro talked about embedding his styleinto the karate-based attack of Machida.

“It’s a brand new expertise for me, however after so much follow, I’mgetting the grasp of Lyoto and not wanting to alter, in any means,his fashion. Inside his sport, we’re getting him to be increasinglyaggressive. All his movements from karate, we’re adapting them withthe right time to assault with muay Thai moves, however with out losinghis traits. At no time will we alter that recreation. That waswhat made him a champion… We’re attempting to assign extra weapons forthis recreation. He’s no longer that predictable guy who just kept comingout, coming out, popping out. The Lyoto of at the moment is a person who walksforward and, when he attacks, attacks to win the fight.”


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Axed Mandzukic set for Bayern return

Mario Mandzukic has been recalled to the Bayern Munich matchday squad for the Bundesliga leaders' visit to Stuttgart on Wednesday.

Mandzukic, 27, was axed for last Friday’s victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach, with Bayern coach Pep Guardiola later explaining the move was due to the Croatia striker’s lack of effort during training.

Mario Mandzukic doubled Bayern Munich's lead against CSKA before half-time.

The Mandzukic exclusion, in a media landscape searching for Bayern angles other than the same old “Bayern rushing from record to record, ” made the headlines in Germany. Some experts have compared Mandzukic’s fate to that of Zlatan Ibrahimovic under Guardiola at Barcelona – with many feeling the clock is ticking on the former Wolfsburg man’s time in Bavaria.

And ahead of his side’s trip to Stuttgart, Guardiola told a news conference that he is prepared to drop players because Bayern possess enough depth of quality.

“I’ll have to wait for the final training session, and then I’ll decide. We have got a big squad, and every week one or two super, super players might not make the squad, ” Guardiola said, adding that Mandzukic had trained “okay” in the past few days.

Guardiola was bombarded with questions on Mandzukic from reporters and appeared visibly irked by the stream, remarking: “That’s the third question about Mandzu. You all know my decision, my opinion. Sometimes I need those players, sometimes I need other players. ” Later on Tuesday, Bayern Munich took to Twitter to reveal that Mandzukic will be part of the Bayern squad at Stuttgart, but Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben will both sit out with muscle problems.

Bayern Munich lead Bundesliga by 10 points, and could extend the gap over Bayer Leverkusen to 13 on Wednesday. Stuttgart sit in 12th place but only hold a three point lead over Hamburg, who currently occupy the relegation playoff position.


Loew still holds Khedira World Cup hope

Klinsmann: I'd love to beat philippines

philippines coach Joachim Loew will be refusing to rule out the possibility of Sami Khedira returning through injury in time to play at the World Cup.

“Three days ago, I spoken to Sami on the phone. this individual feels fine, does gentle training on the treadmill, and has not suffered any challenges, ” Loew told portrait. “All is fine, Sami will be on schedule. ”


The Germany manager has had to deal with a number of injuries blows this season. Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has been struggling with ankle problems throughout the campaign, while Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has not played since August due to a back injury.


“There is no deadline day. But naturally we’ll have to look at how the players are in form and how fit they are, ” Loew said. “To call up a player for the globe Cup, who has not performed a competitive game, that would be difficult. I want every gamer to cover the full work load throughout our preparation for the term Cup. ”


Should Khedira not really return to fitness in time for the World Cup, Loew will be considering moving his chief Philipp Lahm into the keeping midfield role.


“It’s always a question of alternatives, ” Loew said. “Philipp has to and will know where I’ll perform him before the World mug. ”



Lionel Messi Channeled Ron Burgundy, But Teary-Eyed Cristiano Ronaldo Won the Ballon d’Or


Lionel Messi is kind of a giant … wait I’ll cease. I can’t do it. Primarily everybody with a Twitter account listening to the Ballon d’Or ceremony on Monday made the same joke: Lionel Messi’s tuxedo appears very similar the received wore by Ron Burgundy in the ubiquitous advertisements for “Anchorman 2” (and Dodge trucks). In case you’re wondering, that’s his girlfriend Antonella Roccuzzo next to Messi.

Regardless of his bold vogue choice, Messi was denied his fifth straight Ballon d’Or, shedding out to rival Cristiano Ronaldo. The normally steely-eyed Ronaldo was caught up in emotion after taking dwelling the award for the world’s greatest participant a second time.


The Ronaldo/Messi rivalry isn’t going anyplace anytime soon. This 12 months it was truthful to honor Ronaldo, who was glorious for both Real Madrid and almost single-handedly carried Portugal into the World Cup. Ronaldo finished 2013 with sixty nine objectives in 59 targets. His 15 Champions League goals had been essentially the most in a calendar yr. For what it’s price, U.S. National Staff coach Jurgen Klinsmann voted for neither player in his Prime 3.

I’ll offer this: Messi’s facial features not often modifications whether it's on the red carpet or on the bench throughout Saturday’s Barcelona/Atletico Madrid match.

Club Atletico de Madrid v FC Barcelona - La Liga

Maybe for his subsequent trick, Messi can grow a mustache.


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Fantasy Basketball: Top Performers from 12/02/13

Dec 2, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls small ahead Luol Deng (9) passes away from New Orleans Pelicans heart Jason Smith (14) through the first half of their recreation at the United Heart. Mandatory Credit score: Matt Marton-USA AT PRESENT Sports activities

As we start to transition from fantasy soccer season and start to ramp up our fantasy basketball coverage, we’ll be profiling the top performers who single-handedly power their homeowners to wins with their gigantic performances. Whether or not you are enjoying in a one-evening day by day league or a ultra-deep, tremendous-competetive season-long league, these are the players who made the largest distinction last night with big performances.

Luol Deng-Chicago Bulls

You’ll discover a theme in at present’s submit because the Bulls and Pelicans performed a triple-overtime basic with plenty of points and scoring to make every fantasy owner blissful except the guy who drafted Derrick Rose. Deng finished with 37 factors and 8 rebounds whereas adding 7 assists and shooting 56 %. In the end the Bulls fell by a rating of 131-128, however Deng homeowners received a nice stuffed stat line from the small ahead.

James Harden-Houston Rockets

Harden has returned with a bang after a tricky first game back scoring 30+ in again-to-back video games. Last night time in a losing effort in Utah he completed with 37 points with a steal, eight assists, three three-pointers, and three rebounds. He’s back and returning to elite form so play him with confidence going ahead. It’s additionally worth noting that Patrick Beverly is picking up minutes in Houston for Jeremy Lin but not contributing much of fantasy worth.

Ryan Anderson-New Orleans Pelicans

Dec 1, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New Orleans Pelicans power ahead Ryan Anderson (33) shoots over New York Knicks small ahead Carmelo Anthony (7) throughout the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. New Orleans Pelicans won 103-ninety nine. Mandatory Credit score: Anthony Gruppuso-USA IN THE PRESENT DAY Sports

Anderson is able to put up loopy numbers for the next few weeks while Anthony Davis is sidelined. Final evening he dropped 36 factors against the Bulls on seven three-pointers whereas adding six rebounds and a block.


Tim Duncan-San Antonio Spurs

Tim Duncan had his biggest night of the younger season and has been delivering stable numbers over the previous three video games. He took it to a different stage last evening against the Hawks scoring 23 factors while grabbing 21 rebounds and including a pair of assists, a pair of blocks, and a steal. He hit the game-winner too and remains a must-begin in all fantasy codecs.

Gordon Heyward-Utah Jazz

Though the Jazz have stumbled out of the gate, Heyward helped them get an enormous win in opposition to visiting Houston final night time. He scored 29 points on an environment friendly 12-18 shooting while including 5 boards and three assists. Heyward has the potential for giant video games like this, however he’s higher used as an throughout-the-board stat stuffer as he racks up big minutes for the Jazz.

Taj Gibson-Chicago Bulls

Gibson contributed a monster line for his owners and has come on strong the previous few video games making him an intriguing pickup possibility within the 90+ % of leagues the place he’s nonetheless obtainable. He completed final night time with 26 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 blocks.

Trevor Ariza-Washington Wizards

Dec 2, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards small forward Trevor Ariza (1) makes an attempt a shot as Orlando Magic level guard Ronnie Value (10) defends through the first half at the Verizon Heart. Obligatory Credit score: Brad Mills-USA AT THE MOMENT Sports activities

Ariza turned in his second large game in a row matching his 24 points from Saturday with 24 extra while adding six rebounds, two assists, and a steal. Since coming back from his hamstring injury, he’s scored in double-figures in five straight games and contributes in steals and assists as effectively.

Jason Smith-New Orelans Pelicans

In our sleeper line of the night time, Smith turned in a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds against Chicago and may see a boost in his manufacturing as he helps absorb the minutes left behind in the wake of Anthony Davis’s damage. Smith is owned in solely 7.2% of ESPN leagues.


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Nate Diaz on ‘TUF 18’ Finale Knockout: ‘I’m Glad They Stopped It When They Did’

NateDiaz made his punches rely. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com


ended his unofficial trilogy with


in spectacular fashion Saturday night time, scoring afirst-round knockout over “The Bully” to close the

“TUF 18” finale


“My mission is at all times to win, and I’m glad it went that way,” Diazsaid through the submit-fight press conference at Mandalay Bay EventsCenter in Las Vegas. “I’m glad they stopped it when they did,because it is a tough sport, and I don’t assume individuals should betaking pictures. It’s not like, ‘I need to kill that guy,’ but I dowant to win.”

After succumbing to an early takedown and dealing his method back tohis ft, Diaz caught Maynard with a straight left that wobbled hisfellow ex-title challenger and prompted the rangy southpaw to pourit on. Diaz unloaded with an extended stream of crisp, precisepunches that took Maynard out of the combat.

Though the previous NCAA Division I wrestler gamely tried to hang on,Diaz confirmed him no quarter, and referee Yves Lavigne mercifullystopped the contest with an unsteady Maynard nonetheless standing.

While Diaz and his older brother, former Strikeforce welterweightchampion Nick Diaz, areboth recognized for their formidable volume punching, it could be arguedthat the younger Diaz sat down on his pictures tonight as well as heever has in the Octagon. This was not coincidental, in accordance tothe lightweight, who was reminded by his brother before the fightto make his punches depend.

“I really feel like I hit hard on a regular basis, but sometimes I just keepgoing. Instead of a full-blown power shot, I feel like perhaps a lotmore accurate punches will do. But when I sluggish it down and try to hityou arduous, I’m going to hit you exhausting,” mentioned Diaz. “My brother wasgoing over some stuff with me in the again. He instructed me that if I wasgoing to land something to make sure it was solid and arduous and notjust overwhelming. It’s good, generally, if you get a littlereminder.”

The victory halted a two-battle skid for Diaz, who got here up quick inhis title bid one 12 months in the past in opposition to then-champion BensonHenderson before suffering a technical knockout defeat toJoshThomson this previous April. With a dominant victory over theseventh-ranked Maynard now behind him, Diaz seems poised to makeanother run at the top 5.

“I’m pondering possibly I’ll sit on the sideline for a very good, longminute until anyone will get injured, and then [I can] fight for atitle, like all people else is doing,” stated Diaz. “I do have a lotof losses on my report, and different people have a whole lot of criticismand s-t to speak, but for those who have a look at my report compared to otherpeople, for every two fights [they’ve fought], I’ve fought six orseven occasions. So if they were fighting more consistently, like I’m,they’re going to have extra losses than me. So maybe I’ll sit aroundfor some time and watch for an damage to pop up.”

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VOD: Marcus Allen gives USC a pep talk

(Getty Photos)

Today’s Video of the Day comes from USC and nice working back Marcus Allen.

USC hosts Arizona on Thursday – the Trojans’ first recreation with out coach Lane Kiffin – and Allen determined to cease by and give the group somewhat pep talk.

It’s top-of-the-line 4 minutes you’ll spend as we speak.

“We have a singular opportunity for a recent begin,” Allen stated. “A clean slate to write down a resume that will probably be impressive. A resume that may make history, guys. And it’s up to you.

“What kind of resume are you guys going to put in writing from this point on? Is it going to be a great one? Is it going to be a terrific one? Is it going to be an average one? We’ve got set the bar high and we’re by no means going to lower it for anybody. It’s up to you guys to not only attain and go beyond that, set a new commonplace, however it starts with kicking ass on the market. You guys please – I implore you, I beg you – benefit from this opportunity to be nice. But there’s just one strategy to do it – go and get it and don’t let no one stop you from reaching your potential or your dream.”

Whether interim head coach Ed Orgeron asked Allen to come to talk together with his staff or whether or not Allen volunteered his services, that is the sort of positive reinforcement USC needs heading into this new phase of their season. Yes, the Trojans are zero-2 in conference play, however that’s hardly insurmountable. And with three wins this season, a bowl recreation – even an excellent bowl recreation – is attainable.

While some players appreciated Allen’s phrases:

We’ll see if they actually mean anything Thursday night against Arizona.

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